ABOUT THE RENO-SPARKS AREA
With the high forested peaks of the Sierras and California just to the west, and dozens of smaller mountain-ranges and nestling valleys of the Great Basin Desert alternating far into the east, the twin cities of Reno and Sparks advance along the basin of the Truckee River, spreading out in all directions from the intersection of highways I-80 and US-395 — the two primary routes to Burning Man. Pristine Lake Tahoe is 1 hour to the southwest; and 45 minutes to the northeast, the Truckee River comes to rest in the ancient, beautiful Pyramid Lake. Also known as the “Truckee Meadows,” Reno-Sparks and its sibling towns are the last major metropolitan area on your way to the Black Rock Desert, 2.5 hours to the north-northeast.
Concentrated in an area just over 100 square miles, only 12% of the 400,000+ residents were born here. A healthy dose of each of the four seasons, tolerable traffic, a flourishing arts and entertainment community, incredibly scenic outdoors and adventures in every direction, decades of economic and housing booms, relatively stable prices, and the absence of a state income tax call many to home here. With the constant influx of people and cultures, expansive frontiers, old-west laissez-faire, the Reno metropolitan area is a vibrantly provocative melting pot of exploration and experiment, and enterprise and leisure.
Due to Reno’s proximity to the playa, there are more Burners per-capita here than any other place on Earth. It is now far more common to meet a local resident who has been to Black Rock City than it is to find someone who has never even heard of “Burning Man.” Moreover, for many local businesses, Burning Man means more volume and dollars than at any other time of the year, including Christmas, due to the yearly migrations to and from the playa. There are also increaslingly more Burner-inspired events and projects every year in the region, due to the impact of Burning Man and its principles on the people living here, and on what each Burner brings home and expresses into the broader community. You are not far from the feeling of community, the arts, and good times here, as found in abundance on the playa.
The most basic ingredient to our prosperity, water, comes from the melting snows in the Sierras, and is plenty good for drinking. Many Burners from afar stop here to fill up their jugs and tanks because of the quality of the water, as well as to minimize weight and save gas on their long journey to the playa. For further information on just how important water is for you in the desert, and where to fill up in the area before heading off, check here.
Finally, on your travels both to and from the playa, PLEASE do not trash Nevada. Period. Either take all of your trash to any of the trash and recycling centers listed in these pages, or all the way back to your home. Do not leave it on the side of the road, nor leave it in dumpsters belonging to businesses or rest areas without their permission. Doing so is not only illegal and will be prosecuted. It ends up costing our neighbors money, resources, and hassle, and it makes Burning Man and all of us look REALLY careless and irresponsible. In short, Leaving No Trace both on and off the playa is absolutely critical to Burning Man’s return to the region. Go here for further info on where to take your trash and recycling.
We are happy you are coming through. We also hope that you enjoy being here! When you go, you’ll be driving through wide-open and gorgeous country. Even though it seems like you can drive without worry into the wild spaces on your trek to the playa, please do drive carefully, keeping a careful eye ahead, as it is not uncommon to suddenly find cows and jackrabbits sojourneying along the road at their own leisure.
For directions to get to Black Rock City, click here.
If you would like to find out more about Reno, Sparks, and beyond, on the right side and at bottom of each of these pages you will find various other information links to inquire further.
Please send your feedback and suggestions to renopages(at)burningman(dot)com.
Need more info? Try: Reno-Sparks Convention & Visitors Authority, Reno News and Review, Reno Gazette-Journal, Reno Magazine, Reno Tahoe Tonight, National Traffic and Road Closure Information, PlayReno, NevadaNet, goTahoe.com, Tahoe.com, Fernleynews.com.